Nantlle Ridge is one of the finest ridge walks in the UK. At just over 9km long and far quieter than the nearby Snowdon range, this ridge is well worth a visit.
Expect stunning views, exposed ridges, easy scrambling sections and tired legs!
Here I’ll outline the route from Rhyd Ddu, finishing at Garnedd Goch, just above the village of Nebo.
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Parking For Nantlle Ridge
Where to park will depend on whether you plan on hiking this route one way or returning to the start point.
On my first traverse of Nantlle Ridge, I parked at Rhyd Ddu train station (park here https://w3w.co/circling.diet.fussy or here https://w3w.co/heartless.strictly.promote ) and did a double traverse, there and back – it was a long day and one of the harder hikes I’ve done in Snowdonia.
For my second visit, I did a one-way route so I parked a car in the village of Nebo ( https://w3w.co/sped.powerful.trees ) and drove to Rhyd Ddu and parked the second car at the train station for the start.
Many hikers park at one end and only traverse half of the ridge as the full there-and-back is 19km of hard strenuous hiking.
Rhyd Ddu to Y Garn
From the station car park, I went over the road and headed west on the well-made path and then onto the rugged east ridge of Y Garn.
This section of the route is quite a slog with a mixture of grass and gravel/stones underfoot.
There’s no scrambling on this first section and the summit is 633m above sea level.
Approaching the foot of Y Garn, the first summit.
Looking down to Rhyd Ddu from the summit of Y Garn.
Y Garn to Mynydd Drws-y-Coed
From the summit of Y Garn, I took the obvious path south for 1km to the summit of Mynydd Drws-y-Coed.
The west side of this exciting ridge is steep and offers delightful views down the valley.
There is some very light and short-lived scrambling over jumbled rocks in this section, but the difficulty never goes above grade 1.
The ridge between Y Garn and Mynydd Drws-y-Coed
Path up Mynydd-Drws-y-Coed
Mynydd-Drws-y-Coed to Trum y Ddysgl
From Mynydd Drws-y-Coed, the path descends and veers to the right (west) before it rises to the second-highest summit on the Nantlle Ridge – Trum y Ddysgl.
This path to this summit is slightly steeper but is mostly dirt, well-trodden and easy to follow.
On Mynydd Drws-y-Coed looking up to Trum y Ddysgl
On Trum y Ddysgl with Mynydd Drws-y-Coed and Y Garn in the distance.
From the Obelisk to Craig Cwm Silyn
I’ve met a few hikers that only went as far as the Obelisk and then turned back but I’ll show you the rest of the route.
From the Obelisk, head south on a grassy ridge for 400m and then down a steepening path to the double col of Bwlch Dros Bern. From here, the route up to Craig Cwm Silyn beckons; take the route just to the right of the ridge crest if you enjoy scrambling or further right to avoid much of the scrambling.
Stay true to the crest (scrambling) or follow the path slightly to the right to avoid the steep sections
The path up to Craig Cwm Silyn – rugged but mostly avoiding the scrambling sections
The summit of Craig Cwm Silyn
Craig Cwm Silyn to Garnedd Goch
From Craig Cwm Silyn, follow the broad featureless grassy ridge to the final summit of Garnedd Goch.
From here either reverse the route for a mammoth 18km double traverse or head south-west towards the village of Nebo if you dropped off a car earlier in the day.
The section between Craig Cwm Silyn and Garnedd Goch (mostly a broad, grassy ridge)
The final summit – Garnedd Goch
My Thoughts on Nantlle Ridge
I’ve done Nantlle Ridge twice and really enjoyed it both times.
The views on this quieter side of Snowdonia are stunning, and getting away from the crowds is always a bonus.
I found the double traverse (there and back) quite difficult as it was a hot day and 18km of mountainous trekking left me with very sore legs!
As a hiking route, I rate Nantlle Ridge very highly, but there’s very little scrambling en route, and most of it is very easy or can be avoided entirely.
This route is best avoided on really windy days as the ridge is exposed.
There are few places to fill up water bottles, so if you usually filter stream water en route, you’ll need to bring plenty with you.
Parking is limited in Rhyd Ddu and in Nebo, especially on busy summer weekends.
About Daniel Woodley
This guide to Nantlle Ridge was created by Daniel Woodley, aka The Bald Scrambler.
From walking along beaches and kayaking down rivers to making his way up mountains and even jumping out of planes, Daniel has a love of the outdoors, but scrambling is his real passion.
Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler